Wrist arthroscopy is a way of looking inside the wrist without making a large incision. It can be a useful diagnostic tool and an effective treatment for some conditions.
Arthroscopy can be used to confirm a diagnosis of a suspected ligament injury and asses its severity. It can give useful information about the extent of wrist arthritis and also help with the treatment of some complex fractures. It can also form part of the treatment of wrist ganglions and ligament tears.
Arthroscopy is performed as day surgery. It is usually under general anaesthetic or an arm block. You would not normally have to stop any regular medication prior to an arthroscopic procedure but Dr Stewart can advise you about your specific requirements.
4 very small incisions are made on the back of the wrist to allow the insertion of the arthroscopy camera and arthroscopic instruments. The joint surfaces within the wrist are inspected and the ligaments examined and stressed. After a thorough examination of the whole wrist joint, any other arthroscopic procedures are performed.
The wrist is supported in a padded bandage for a week. The wrist is usually a little uncomfortable for two weeks after which most activities can be resumed if no additional surgery is required.
There is a small risk of infection after arthroscopy although this is very rare.
Although there are some shortcomings, MRI scanning is an alternative (although often complementary) investigation to diagnostic arthroscopy.